Console automation

Console automation

Modern digital audio consoles or mixers use automation. Automation allows the console to remember the audio engineer's adjustment of faders during the post-production editing process. A timecode is necessary for synchronization of automation.


Types of Automation

  • Voltage Controlled Automationfader levels are regulated by voltage-controlled amplifiers (VCA). VCAs control the audio level and not the actual fader.
  • Moving Fader Automation – A motor is attached to the fader, which then can be controlled by the console, digital audio workstation (DAW), or user.
  • Software Controlled Automation – The software can be internal to the console, or external as part of a DAW. The virtual fader can be adjusted in the software by the user.
  • MIDI Automation – The communications protocol MIDI can be used to send messages to the console to control automation.

Modes of Automation

  • Auto Write – Used the first time automation is created or when writing over existing automation
  • Auto Touch – Writes automation data only while a fader is touched / faders return to any previously automated position after release
  • Auto Latch – Starts writing automation data when a fader is touched / stays in position after release
  • Auto Read – Digital Audio Workstation performs the written automation
  • Auto Off – Automation is temporarily disabled

All of these include the mute button. If mute is pressed during writing of automation, the audio track will be muted during playback of that automation. Depending on software, other parameters such as panning, sends, and plug-in controls can be automated as well. In some cases, automation can be written using a digital potentiometer (d-pot) instead of a fader.


  • Stanley R. Alten. Audio in Media, sixth edition. Wadsworth, 2002.
  • David Miles Huber and Robert Runstein. Modern Recording Techniques, sixth edition. Oxford: Focal Press, 2005.

See also

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